What is internal communication?
Internal communication generally means that all information shared within a company for business needs. The term is more often used to refer to a person or department responsible for employee communications.
Their job is to inform employees, keep in touch with them, and keep them informed about the company's goals and strategy. In large organizations, the need for a separate internal communications department is obvious. In smaller companies, this task is often taken over by managers or the HR department.
How can you make working from the digital office as efficient as possible?
What does online collaboration entail?
Simply said, collaborating online means being able to complete all work processes in the same way as would be possible on site. Just digitally. This includes:
Listening to employees: How do they want to communicate?
Everyone communicates differently. Some employees only send emails, while others prefer to hold meetings. Often it's a personal preference, or it may depend on what's available internally.
Generational differences also play a role. An effective internal communications strategy must use some channels. But before you waste time sending emails that no one will read, make sure you know your audience.
This discovery phase can be informal, through conversations with colleagues. Or it can involve a more structured process to have supporting data.
The best internal communications strategies provide a good mix of content which is distributed across multiple channels.
The right solution for every business - different types of collaboration tools
Even if some popular all-round solutions combine as many of the functions mentioned as possible, there are different focuses. Often, one provider is not enough to digitally support the entire team's work.
Collaboration software solutions are therefore as diverse as the requirements of medium-sized companies themselves.
Among the solutions, the following types of tools can be found:
Why do I need a tool for online collaboration?
Without a tool that creates the technical framework for it, it's feasible - but not much fun. Constantly jumping between different applications makes efficient and productive work virtually impossible.
After all, successful online collaboration also means being able to control everything from one place. If you have to hop into an email program to create an appointment or search for a document in buried folder structures, you're wasting valuable time that could be filled with more productive tasks. So using a tool that structures online collaboration has a whole host of benefits:
- It minimizes jumping back and forth between different applications in the system.
- One tool brings structure to communication and data exchange.
- Everything in one place: A tool creates a central place for communication and thus promotes productivity.
- It also keeps us in touch with our colleagues on a personal level.
- Work anytime from any device - one tool enables location-independent work without loss of productivity.
- Data that is not physically stored cannot be lost.
- Search less, find more: All information is always bundled in one place during the workday.
Key features and focus - what your tool should be able to do and what your team should know
A collaboration tool that is supposed to be the most important or even the only software to cover the various needs of the team must have some key features.
Too much complexity, however, can unnecessarily delay workflow and familiarization. Therefore, the following applies: In the best case, the tool primarily provides the features that you really want to use. It therefore makes sense to consider at an early stage and with the entire team what needs are certain to be expected and what might be added.
Here is an overview of some of the most frequently used functions
Video conferencing is the solution for efficient online collaboration in the home office. But which providers are there?
- Microsoft Teams
- Digital collaboration in online and video conferences with up to 250 participants and online events with up to 10,000 participants. In addition to video conferencing, Teams offers extensive virtual collaboration features, including Office 365 integration.
- Cisco Webex Meetings
- Via Webex Meetings you can realize video conferencing, IP telephony, instant messaging as well as screen sharing. The products and services are provided as "Software as a Service" by Cisco Collaboration. A video conference works as follows in Webex Meetings: The so-called host must be registered with the service.
- In Skype you can hold video conferences in addition to normal video chat. Up to 50 people can participate in a free group video call - via PC, tablet or smartphone.
- In Zoom, up to 100 participants can join a video conference in the free version. The catch is that the duration of these sessions with three or more people is limited to 40 minutes. If you want to extend this period, you need the Pro version. This costs 13.99 euros per month and per moderator.
- GoToMeeting is also a software package for online meetings and video conferences. In addition, desktop sharing can be operated via GoToMeeting. The software is available for the computer, but also as an app for smartphones and tablets.
- Jitsi is a free open source tool, open source and Web RTC compatible. Jitsi is available for Slack, RocketChat or Matrix, for example, and is easy to integrate. You can create a meeting from the operator itself via the Jitsi-Meet instance without needing an account. Afterwards, you can easily invite additional participants by sharing a URL.
- BigBlueButton is an audio and video conferencing system for training, online seminars and team meetings. The tool can be flexibly used by universities and schools as a virtual classroom. The reason is obvious: BigBlueButton was developed specifically as an open-source video conferencing solution for use in e-learning.
Working & saving documents together: Collaboration tools / Cloud
Many activities are based on working in documents. To be able to work on them with colleagues at the same time without sending them back and forth in different versions, the following solutions, among others, are suitable:
Is a file hosting service provided by the Google LLC company. It allows users to store documents in the cloud, share files and edit documents together. A total of 15 GB of data storage is available to users here free of charge. If more data storage is required, corresponding monthly costs are incurred.
Formerly Microsoft SkyDrive, is a file hosting service from Microsoft that allows users to store their data, synchronize it with other devices and share it with other people. The basic OneDrive package with 5 GB of data volume is free of charge, whereas higher volumes come with corresponding monthly fees.
Tips and exercises
5 tips from the digital office
||Internal communication generally means that all information shared within a company for business needs. The term is more often used to refer to a person or department responsible for employee communications.
||The best internal communications strategies provide a good mix of content which is distributed across multiple channels.
||Successful online collaboration means being able to control everything from one place. If you have to hop into an email program to create an appointment or search for a document in buried folder structures, you're wasting valuable time that could be filled with more productive tasks.